Pinkwater, Daniel

Vampires of Blinsh

(2) K-3 Illustrated by Aaron Renier. Pinkwater and Renier present an absurd and delightfully creepy mock anthropological study of the village of Blinsh, where "not every Blinsher, or Blinshite, if you prefer, is a vampire, but 51 percent of them are, and every family has at least one." The omniscient narrator is humorously sympathetic to vampires, generally overlooking the havoc depicted throughout the illustrations, even going so far as to say that a bite from a vampire could be interpreted as, "Hello, let's be friends." Pinkwater's text is dry and witty, often describing familiar and mundane aspects of town life with great interest. This enthusiasm almost always contains a macabre undertone that skillfully walks the line between funny and frightening. Renier's ink and gouache illustrations feature skillful linework, dynamic layouts, and expressive evening scenes draped in rich hues. A significant portion of the storytelling and world-building is achieved through the visuals alone; in particular, the huge cast of recurring characters, strong sense of physical space (see front endpapers for a detailed map of an idyllic Blinsh), and large variety of races, skin tones, body sizes, ages, and abilities depicted within the community create countless points of access and interest for readers. A brief side trip to the similarly chaotic cities of Blorsh and Farshningle concludes the narration of the book; however, looking very closely, the back endpapers feature an ominous map of Blinsh in disarray, leaving readers to speculate on the fate of the town's living and undead residents.


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